Tag Archives: 1939

Husband and wife killed in air raid in firm’s basement in London

From Norwood News – Friday 17 January 1941, page 2

HUSBAND AND WIFE KILLED IN RAID
Took Shelter at Premises Bombed in London

Mr. and Mrs F. J. Roberts, Spencer-road, Mitcham, have been the victims of enemy action.

They were in the habit of sheltering in the basement of Mr. Roberts’ business premises in London, and when these were bombed, both Mr. and Mrs. Roberts were killed. Mr. Roberts was well-known and respected in Mitcham.

He was secretary of the penny-a-week collection scheme on behalf of Wilson Hospital, succeeding Mr. Allen, the founder. In this capacity Mr. Roberts rendered good service, and his efforts were much appreciated.

The Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record for Francis James Roberts, aged 46, his wife Mary Roberts, aged 48, and their son David Iowerth Roberts, aged 15, states that their address was at 19, Spencer Road, and that they died on 11th January 1941 in the premises of Elder & Fyffes, Bow Street. This company imported bananas, and was renamed the Fyffes Group in 1969, according to Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History.

The 1939 register shows that Mr F.J. Roberts was a Printing Dept Supervisor at the firm.

William Pizey

Born 11th March, 1913.

He married Jean Cowley in the last quarter of 1938.

In the 1939 Register he was living at 4 Grenfell Road, as a removal goods motor driver, with his wife Jean, born 22nd March, 1914.

He died on 23rd July 1970. From his will, his address was 50 Ashbourne Road, Mitcham, he left £2,350.

His son in October 2019 said:

My father James Pizey served on Salisbury plane testing the ammunition and supervising the pay. His brother Bill served in Burma was a Chindits soldier. They both had their homes in Mitcham. Their father, my grampa, served in the First World War. All survived.

Sir Isaac Wilson : Death of a Benefactor of Mitcham

From The Mitcham News & Mercury, 29th September, 1944, page 4:

SIR ISAAC H. WILSON
Death of Benefactor of Mitcham

REGARDED WEALTH AS AN
OBLIGATION

Mitcham mourns the death at the age of 82 of Sir Isaac H Wilson, The Birches, The Cricket Green, a well-loved personality whose generosity has brought lasting benefits to the people of Mitcham.

Sir Isaac died on Tuesday in the Wilson Hospital, his £120,000 gift to the borough, which with Cumberland house and Mitcham Garden Village remain lasting testimonies to the spirit of a man to whom wealth was regarded as an obligation to the less fortunate rather than a privilege to himself.

In fifteen years his benefactions to the borough have been in the neighborhood of a quarter of a million pounds, but his greatness of heart was something not to be measured in terms of money. He was not a rich man who gave of his wealth has a salve to conscience. Certainly he felt it a duty to spend his money well, and the only return he asked was the increased happiness of the people. Although he has done more for Mitcham than any other man, he was loved for his own sake rather than for his gifts. He was simple kind and modest; he hated publicity, and did not care for constant reminders about the good he had done his adopted town.

QUIET DAILY VISITS

He liked a quiet life, and latterly since ill health had restricted his activities his greatest pleasure was to visit the Wilson Hospital and Cumberland House, a thing he did almost daily when his health permitted. He was the most welcome of all visitors at both places. There was no member of the staff who was not pleased to see the familiar figure coming up the drive, for if his step was slower of recent years, he had always a smile for his friends, and a happy twinkle in his eye.

Much has been written of Sir Isaac’s romantic rise from his obscure native village of Milton, Cumberland to a position of wealth and influence in the world. He was the youngest and only surviving member of a family of four brothers, sons of a yeoman farmer, who went out into the world to seek their fortunes in the building trade, and then spent the fruits of their labours on charity. They spent their youth working on their father’s farm, and later Sir Isaac became a draper’s apprentice.

BUILDING DEVELOPEMENT

He left the drapery business to join his brother, Joseph, in London where the two brothers developed large areas of Fulham, Mitcham and Tooting Junction. The other two brothers, Thomas and John, made fortunes building working class houses in Newcastle, and when they died Sir Isaac inherited several hundred thousand pounds.

The Wilson Hospital, the foundation stone of which was laid by his first wife, who was also a native of Cumberland, was Sir Isaac’s first benefaction to the borough. In November, 1928, it was opened by the Princess Royal. Later Sir Isaac enlarged the hospital adding two wings and installing up-to-date equipment.

THE GARDEN VILLAGE

On part of Cranmer green he built Mitcham Garden Village, the replica of his native Village, where the borough’s old inhabitants may live rent free. His next to gift to Mitcham was Cumberland House, the modern convalescent home at the rear of his own home which cost £60,000. This has been taken over by Surrey County Council. The cost of upholding the home by voluntary methods would have been an enormous charge on Mitcham, and Sir Isaac agreed that the best scheme was for the County Council to accept responsibility. Sir Isaac assured the future of the Wilson hospital by conveying to the trustees property in the district to the value of £45,000 as an endowment for the hospital. He also gave a home for the nurses.

Mitcham was not the only recipient of his generosity. His native village of Milton and neighbouring districts benefited by more than £20,000 from his generosity. This was spent on building cottages for the poor.

The death of his only daughter a considerable time ago was a great grief to Sir Isaac. Later he lost his wife, who, he said, had been the inspiration of the gift of the hospital. His only granddaughter, Mrs Black, lives on the Cricket Green, a few doors from Sir Isaac’s own home. Hs two grandsons are serving with the Forces.

CHURCHMAN AND CONSERVATIVE

For many years he played a prominent part in the town’s life. Earlier in his life he took an active interest in St. Barnabas Church where he was a churchwarden for some time. He was a staunch Conservative and for a time was president of the local Conservative and Constitutional Club. He was a keen educationalist as well as a Justice of the Peace until recently. For some time he was Chairman of the Mitcham Bench.

Formerly a member of Surrey County Council he was also a member of Mitcham Council until last year, when failing health caused him to relinquish many public posts.

In 1937 he became a Freeman of Mitcham, and in June, 1939, was knighted for political and public service in Mitcham.

Sir Isaac accepted honours gracefully, and continued his work in the same efficient and unassuming way.

A GREAT READER

For years Sir Isaac has been Mitcham’s best friend. He invested his money in the borough’s happiness, and both he and the people have drawn generous dividends. His figure, familiar to all who frequent the Green, will be sadly missed. He lived a simple life and of recent years rarelt went out of the borough.

His chief recreation was reading, and for the last ten years he has read little other than books about millionaires, successful businessman and industrialists, or men who, like himself, had risen from obscurity to a place in the world. Following The Fortunes of Lord Nuffield, Henry Ford, the Cadburys and others, he sought comparisons with his own success, and compared their manner of spending their fortune with his own.

The bombing of the Wilson Hospital, which was closed for some time, was a great blow to him, and the town will be glad that he lived to see it repaired and at work again.

Sir Isaac Wilson

Leonard Sydney Budd

Leonard Sydney Budd was born at Inglemere Road, Mitcham, on 16th October 1905, and baptised at age 7 on 13th July 1913 at St Alban, Streatham Park.

He married Ivy E. Bolton in Wandsworth in 1931.

In the 1939 Register he was living with his wife Ivy, at 43 Warren Road, Mitcham. He was a bus conductor. She was born on 23rd June 1909.

He served with the RAF, service number 1429872.

His grandson said:

My grandad, Len Budd, also served in the RAF in WWII in Italy. Born 16 October 1905 at Inglemere Road, Mitcham
I think he was posted to Seattle, then Staffordshire before Italy

Leading Aircraftsman Gregory James Ash

He was born 16th November 1904 and baptised on 15th January 1905 at St Crispin’s, Bermondsey. His parents were James Richard and Ellen Ash.

At 22, he married Elizabeth Harriett Burnett, 22, on the 23rd July 1927 at Christ Church, Bermondsey, Southwark. His father was a compositor.

It is likely that they then moved to Mitcham, as his name is shown on the electoral register in 1928 at 199 Manor Road, not far from its junction with Rowan Road and Wide Way.

In the 1939 Register, Gregory James Ash, born 16th November 1904, was a printing clerk, and lived at 199 Manor Road, Mitcham, with his wife Elizabeth Harriet Ash, housewife, born 28th December 1904, and their daughter Margaret, born 19th March 1931.

He served in the Base Signals Repair Unit of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve, service number 1249162.

On 7th November 1944, he was onboard the ship HM Landing Ship Tank (LST) 420, with around 230 RAF personnel, when it was sunk by a mine outside Ostend, Belgium.

From the ww2Talk forum:

LST-420 left Dover on 7 November with a party of airmen, trucks and supplies for RAF personnel in Belgium. It was unable to enter the port of Ostend because of a severe storm and the captain decided to return to England. The ship was still within sight of Ostend when it hit a mine, split in two, and sank. Fourteen officers and 224 other ranks were lost. Only 31 were saved. It was the greatest loss of lives on a British landing craft during the war. Many of the casualties were buried at Ostend and at Blankenberge cemeteries in Belgium. Above the wreck today is a marker buoy “LST 420.”

He is buried in the Blankenberge Town Cemetery, West Flanders, Belgium. A photo of his grave can be seen on the Find A Grave website.

Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty record.

Gunner Douglas Harold Allaway

In the 1939 Register, Douglas Harold Allaway, born 4th December 1918, was a sign fixer’s mate and lived at 67 Fleming Mead in Mitcham. Living with him was his mother Florence, born in 1893, and his sisters Margaret, born 6th February 1938; Winifred, born 25th January 1916, confectionary packer; Ellen, born 28th May 1920, a novelty cardboard box maker Joan, born 16th January 1925, a cardboard box maker.

Douglas Harold Allaway served as a gunner with the Royal Artillery, service number 1524793, with the Anti-Tank Regiment.

In 1940, as part of the British Expeditionary Force (B.E.F.) he was wounded and captured. He was a Prisoner of War at Stalag 20A. This camp, also called Stalag XX-A, was in Torun, Poland.

British film actor Sam Kydd was also captured while in the B.E.F. and also was a POW at this camp.

His daughter said in October 2019:

My dad was captured 3 months into WW2, and was POW in Torun, Poland, Stalag XXA. He survived the war and had a shrapnel wound in shoulder.

He lived in Western Road with his mum and sisters & brothers.

He passed away 1981 in Chichester.

Private Henry James Charles Warner

Born 26th August 1910.

In the 1911 Census, he was living with his parents Harry, aged 23, a clerk in the Army and Navy Stores in Westminster, London, and Alice, also 23, a sewer in a silk printing works, presumably the nearby Merton Abbey works. They lived in Littler’s Cottages, at the corner of Phipps Bridge Road (the part now called Liberty Avenue) and Church Road.

In the 1925 street directory, Harry Warner was living at 10 Shore Street, off of Phipps Bridge Road.

On 30th June 1934, when he was living at 10 Shore Street with his parents, he married Lilian Violet Ward of 75 Church Road, at the Mitcham parish church in Church Road. They were both 23 years old.

Marriage Banns

In the 1939 Register he was living at 75 Church Road, Mitcham, with his wife Lilian Violet. He was listed as a central heating fitter’s labourer.

He was originally in the Royal Artillery and was then transferred to the Somerset Light Infantry, 7th Battalion, service number 1741114.

Died 1st October 1944, when his battalion was part of the 214th Infantry Brigade in Operation Market Garden. He was killed by a mortar.

Sources:

Banns – Surrey History Centre; Woking, Surrey, England; Reference Number: 3477/4
Commonwealth War Grave Commission casualty details
Wikipedia – Operation Market Garden Order of Battle